Weekend Tangent: What Canada does about racial slurs and abuse in public: jail time


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog. Here’s what a place like Canada does when you have a thing like racially-motivated slurs and abuse: They give the abuser jail time.  In fact, more than the prosecution was seeking.  Fancy that.  I’ve been told on more than one occasion to “go back to my own country” (even after naturalization, and once by a professor in my own university), and nobody has ever anything about it.  Sad, innit?  Arudou Debito


15 comments on “Weekend Tangent: What Canada does about racial slurs and abuse in public: jail time

  • Much respect to Canada, bloody well done, that.

    From all I’ve been hearing from natives and immigrants, Canada generally seems to look like a quite progressive-thinking and people-minded place (at least, just going by what I’ve seen/heard). I’d go so far as to say it beats even the U.S. in the tolerance category. Japan could stand to learn a lot, a WHOLE lot from them, I think.

    Heck, never mind Japan, I’m emigrating to Canada.

  • It sounds nice at first, but it’s a slippery slope that needs clear boundaries. Would you want to be prosecuted for drawing “ちびきいろじゃっぷ”? Sure, we know that it’s satire, but do you expect a prosecutor to understand the difference?

    I think the American approach is better: “hate speech” is legal, but it is not legal to threaten people, or to deny them service based on their race/origin. I personally don’t care what some idiot thinks of non-Japanese as long as they let people live in peace.

  • Dean Ruetzler says:

    Yes, racially insensetive comments (plus well intentioned attempts at communication but highly condescending comments from inebrieated natives with the guts to address you in that condition), from even from friends and acquaintances(especially after 12 years when your friends are not just English-speaking and or foreigner-oriented Japanese) have got to be at least a weekly occurrence, and outright slurs and nasty comments are a couple times a month(and would be more if i were not 6-1 240 and a local foreign amateur sumo of some repute). Even if Japan puts a law in the books it will be a toothless one like the no-discrimination one…..

  • I remember growing up in Canada, as an elem. student, teachers went APESHIT over ANY form of racial discrimination. Correcting this behavior at an early stage is key. This is Japan’s downfall. TV, the elderly and many adults pass their “gaijinisms” onto their children.

    [tangent deleted]

  • On the other hand (its a dirty job but someone has to raise the other side in the interests of a balanced debate) some of Canada’s laws seem a bit TOO PC.

    This is the country that banned Duran Duran’s “Electric Barbarella” video as “sexist” (never mind the fact it was directed by a woman and a feminist at that), and Debito as a big DD fan might take issue with this!

    Another ad of a little girl putting a little boy’s dirty clothes in a washing machine (detergent ad) was also banned as sexist.

    Isn’t it also prohibited to drink beer on the street?

    Sure, racial hate speech and violent assault should be punished, as in this clear-cut case, but as Joe Jones says, its a slippery slope.

    It is a shame if laws against hate speech have had to go hand in hand with PC gone mad limitations on other forms of free expression in Canada, and I d like to hear from Canadians as to whether or not this is the case.

  • The racial abuse in and of itself should not incur jail time. An assault, such as spitting on someone, should.

    Canada unfortunately has become a country where free and legitimate political discourse is stifled by do-gooders and minions of the government. You need only look at what happened to Ezra Levant, a magazine publisher who dared to publish the infamous “Mohammed cartoons”. His case was investigated by a tribunal for 900 days, and he incurred nearly $100,000 in legal costs, because someone was offended by him publishing them.

    The law contains enough restraints on speech already without adding more.

  • The only issue I got with this is that it can be used by people who are closet racist or xenophobics visiting Canada for school etc. and work the system to their advantage, but endorse xenophobia in their own country. I once worked with a Japanese woman who told me that while studying in the U.S., her instructor hinted that he didnt like Asians due to an experience in Vietnam. She went to the school administration and had him fired. When I mentioned that Im turned away constantly for housing, decent work etc even with a spouse visa and skills, she shrugged it off.

    — That’s the “That’s what happens in The Old Country, can’t do anything about what goes on there, but I can do something about what goes on over here, nertz!” Syndrome.

  • While I applaud the fact that the sleaze is behind bars, it’s a bit misleading to say he’s there because of racial slurs. If he hadn’t spit on the poor woman (assault), he’d still be walking free.

    — Yes, but he DID assault her. And the judge did rule that it was a racially-motivated assault. And jail time is the outcome. Not misleading.

  • As a Canadian, I will say that there are cases where we take it too far and we can be too sensitive about these things. Despite this, Toronto just elected a mayor who is on record saying gays are the source of AIDS, has a NIMBY attitude about low-income housing, and is convinced “orientals” are genetically pre-disposed to working harder than the rest of the world.

    But I prefer the sensitivity to this, or any of Japan’s “homogeneity.”

    — So do I. And Calgary just elected a Muslim mayor. It works both ways.

  • Not sure exactly the law, but in the UK penalties are stronger (rightly IMHO) when any offence is “racially motivated”. In this case I would have thought 2/3 of the sentence is because of the assaults (threats to harm the victim and man coming to aid) and assault and battery (spitting) on the woman. The only problem (IMHO) with laws against racial discrimination is when they get applied beyond what a reasonable person would consider racist, for example in the UK we are now locking people up for criticising the Muslim religion, because apparently Muslims represent a race… not sure how they work that one out but so much for free speech I guess….

  • @ Jonholmes — I can find no record of Electric Barbarella being banned in Canada. I can find that it cracked our top 50 and become DD’s 16th top 50 hit in Canada. 🙂

    @DS — It wasn’t “just someone” it was a member of a major Muslim group. Further, Ezra called him anti-semitic despite the fact that his mosque welcomes the local Jewish population to celebrate Hanukkah with them.

    Six months seems excessive to me as a Canuck for spitting. But it was assault… and it was assault with a racial hatred overtone.

    Many American’s feel we don’t really have free speech. Any limitation is wrong. I feel this is a misrepresentation of our law. Hate speech that is can promote violence against a group is illegal. “Kill all ” is something you can say at home… but if you say it in public you’re in trouble, particularly in front of a crowd. Each case is examined individually they can be busting that law. I’m good with that. I’ve been told by many American’s that this means we don’t have freedom of speech. I don’t buy it myself but it’s a matter of perspective I suppose. As an American, you can’t walk up to the gates of the Whitehouse and threaten to do harm to the president. That’s illegal. Rightly so as far as I’m concerned as well. Isn’t that a limitation?

    And as a Torontonian, I’m hoping Rob Ford doesn’t do too much as our new mayor. He also mades statements about how “Orientals are so hardworking” and failed to understand that this is still racist and that the term is outdated and wrong. Many of us in the Downtown area (which overwhelming voted against the new Mayor, he got his votes from the surrounding part of the city) look at Calgary and think how did this happen? 🙂 I understand the new Calgary mayor is a little c Conservative. I could deal with that though I’m socially leftist. We just hope Ford doesn’t make comments like our Mayor of old about African Cannibals. Hopefully the 4 years passes quickly.

  • @ Dave D-the VIDEO was banned, as I said in my original post. Reading comprehension please.

    “Canadians give Duran Duran the cold shoulder”


    Notice they use the DoubleSpeak of “its not banned, we just chose not to air it”. That is clearly censorship.

    Anti hate speech laws are great, censorship of all forms of self expression that the trendy left or establishment dont’t like isnt.

    So is this conviction of a racist actually just a luckily positive side result of an otherwise culturally negative agenda?

    Correct me if I m wrong please, (please) but parts of Canada seem stifled by PC watered down dullness.

    — You are getting into territory that is more slogans than issues. Bring it back to the issue at hand: How hate speech and racially-rooted abuse is being handled by a judiciary.

  • – That’s the “That’s what happens in The Old Country, can’t do anything about what goes on there, but I can do something about what goes on over here, nertz!” Syndrome.”

    True but she said this while we were both working in Japan. The discussion was about discrimination in Japan, and she became offended when I “complained” about it, and then went on the rant about what she experienced in the U.S. I found it interesting because you will never get a J. university professor fired for discrimination here, in some places its probally encouraged to be racist.

    — Sorry, my mistake. Yes, people do get vindictive that way. Instead of battling the bullies, some people who get bullied turn around and become bullies themselves. Sad.


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